Monday, June 30, 2014

How Long Can Birds Live?

A black-capped chickadee like the one featured here
is known to live over 11 years!
At The Raptor Center, we are often asked how long wild birds live.  One of the best (and most interesting) sources to find answers to that question is the Bird Banding Lab's website.  By banding a bird, the information on an individual such as location and age at time of banding provides the start of a hopefully rich data set of information about the bird, if it is encountered in the future. 

What is the oldest species on record?  A Laysan albatross, which as of earlier this year, was 63 years old.  How about red-tailed hawks?  The oldest known of this species is over 30 years of age!  Even black-capped chickadees can live over 10 years, and the oldest is over 11.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Wizarding World of Wildlife Camp at The Raptor Center

This week, The Raptor Center hosted the Wizarding World of Wildlife camp.  We think there is magic in natural earth processes, and quite a bit of magic in chemisty, and how animals interact with their environments.

If you look closely at the second photo, you can see one of the professors brought in a live "magical creature" that she uses for teaching. Does the last photo help you figure out which one it is?

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Download our Eastern Screech-Owl Activity Book

Please enjoy our Eastern Screech-Owl Activity Book.  You can download it for free here.  It has lots of games and puzzles as ways to learn about this owl species.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Taiga, TRC's Education Merlin

Taiga, TRC's education merlin, took a bath and then stood in the sun to dry this morning. 

She was admitted to TRC's clinic in 2001 from Mankato, MN.  Read her story here.

Taiga is also a part of our Adopt a Raptor program, which helps to feed, house, and provide medical care for our winged ambassadors, who cannot be released back into the wild but help us educate over 150,000 people each year.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

From USFWS National Refuge: Bald Eagles and Lead Poisoning Information Meetings

If you are interested in the issue of bald eagles and lead poisoning, and you live in MN/WI, there are some information sessions hosted by the US Fish and Wildlife Service National Refuge System.  

These information sessions will share the results of research demonstrating the relationship between lead ammunition and lead exposure in bald eagles. A presentation will begin at 6:15 p.m. at each session and will highlight the results of a two-year study which collected 168 deceased bald eagles from the Upper Midwest and examined them for lead exposure.

June 18, 2014 - Winona, Minnesota from 6:00-8:00 p.m.
Winona Historical Society, 160 Jackson Street, Winona, MN 55987

June 19, 2014 - Onalaska, Wisconsin from 6:00-8:00 p.m.
Refuge Visitor Center, N5727 County Road Z, Onalaska, WI 54650.

Link to the USFWS posting/webpage with information is here.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Nero the Turkey Vulture

We are preparing more raptor activity books for you.  For our turkey vulture book, we did a photo shoot with Nero.  He turned 40 this year - just like The Raptor Center!  We thought you'd like to see a couple of the photos.  Look for the last one to be on the cover of the upcoming book!

Read Nero's bio here, and he is a part of our Adopt a Raptor program.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Peregrine Chicks Banded at Ford Parkway

This week, four peregrine chicks - three females and one male - were banded at the Ford Parkway Bridge in Minneapolis/St Paul.  Thank you to Mike Williams for the photos, and to the City of Saint Paul Bridge Inspection Crew for their assistance.

As you might recall from an earlier post, the female at this site is a former TRC clinic patient.  

As the chicks are banded in the various states/project partners, look to our Midwest Peregrine website for their information.

The Raptor Center is the headquarters for the Midwest peregrine reintroduction efforts. 
Dr. Patrick Redig, co-founder of The Raptor Center
and CEO of the Midwest Peregrine Society.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Show your TRC Support with 40th Anniversary Items!

Show your TRC pride and support with some 40th Anniversary items!  We have magnets, coffee mugs, travel cups and tumblers for sale in our TRC giftshop on the St Paul UMN campus, and through the UMN online bookstore here

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

TRC at Northern Spark June 14

This weekend, TRC is back again at Northern Spark, the one-might arts festival in Minneapolis that features many creative experiences.  We will appear at the Weisman Art Museum at 11:00pm. 

The event website is here.

You can always check our Public Events calendar to find out where we will be appearing next!  To schedule TRC at your school or other event, call us at 612-624-2756 or email

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Peregrine Falcon and Northern Saw-whet Owl Activity Books

Now that school is ending for many, the summer is a great time to catch up on your raptor knowledge!  We have two more raptor activity books, free for you to download.  They contain word scrambles, mazes, fun facts and more!

Both books can be found on our Just for Fun webpage, along with past books, and lots of other activities. Thank you to two of our wonderful volunteers - Amy D. and Deb W. - for their work on these. 

Peregrine falcon book
Northern saw-whet owl book

Monday, June 9, 2014

Help TRC Win $1,000 Cash Donation With Your Vote!

Our creative TRC staff came up with a mural that depicted some of the things TRC is known for, and entered it into a GelGems contest.  Staff used that product to decorate a window in our lobby for the contest. 

Clinic Manager Lori Arent "imped" some feathers into the mural design.
Now we need your help to vote on our mural design (we are entry #7)!  The winner of this GelGems contest will receive a $1,000 cash donation and some other goodies for our gift shop! Cast votes between now and June 16, 2014. Check back on Friday, June 20, 2014 to see the winner!

TRC staff Sue Wenker, organizer for TRC entry, and Lori Arent work on the design.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Great Way to Learn Birding By Ear - With Your Eyes

The Raptor Center loves sharing creative and fun ways to learn!  We love the new Cornell Lab of Ornithology's "Bird Song Hero."

The All About Bird Biology team developed "Bird Song Hero". This fun game puts the visual side of your brain to work, asking you to match the song you’re hearing to one of three visual representations of the sound. With more than 50 songs featured, you might just end up with a catchy song stuck in your head.

Here is a screenshot of one of the bird song/calls you can play, and then try to match up to one of the spectrograms of a particular species' call/song on the right.  (Note: even if you got the song right, it's fun to play the songs of the other species for more learning!)

We all learn in different ways; this is a terrific combination of engaging sight and hearing to

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Still Space in Photography Class and Care and Management of Captive Raptors Workshop

This Sunday, June 8, we are offering a photography class at TRC, from 10:00am to 3:00pm.  Cost is $60.  More information here.  There are still a few spots left. 

Our popular Care and Management of Captive Raptors workshop is October 7-11 this year.  This four-day intensive workshop will orient both the novice and expert bird manager to the finer points of caring for and maintaining captive raptors for educational purposes.  More information and registration is on our website here

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

The Raptor Center Clinic Patient Census June 2, 2014

A barred owl patient.

We have received 202 wild patients so far in 2014. We currently have 64 patients. Some are in individual patient cages while their injuries heal. Others are in large flight rooms or outside in the rehabilitation courtyard for exercise before their release.

The table below shows the patient census by species. 

We update our patient census weekly here.

Thank you for your support to help us continue to provide care to the sick and injured raptors admitted to our clinic. 

Monday, June 2, 2014

Juneau the Peregrine Falcon

This morning, Juneau the peregrine falcon, one of TRC's education winged ambassadors, checked the skies for more rain.  The Twin Cities had several inches over the weekend.  We wish we could share some of it with our friends in other parts of the country who are in drought conditions. 

Juneau was hatched in 1998 and recovered in Michigan.  She is a part of our Adopt a Raptor program.  Your support helps TRC care for our feathered staff and continue to educate the public on how raptors are beneficial to our shared environment.